Sunday, March 22, 2009

9 minutes of paradise



If you didn't watch that video, you need to. I think if this blared from my alarm clock every morning, I'd be more inclined to actually GET UP.

Getting up *early* is something that has interested me my entire adult life. I can't remember a time when I wasn't an early riser. In college I had no problem making 8:00 classes... and I was actually showered. The flip side of getting up early is this propensity to go to sleep at a decent time. It's like I have an automatic shut off switch. My body knows when I have been awake for x number of hours (for me it's usually about 15 or 16) and it shuts off. I'm not kidding. I am okay if I am physically doing something, but reading or watching television or even sitting around talking... it's not gonna happen. All my close friends and family know this about me. Oh, and driving late at night, not a good idea either.

In spite of this having been my modus operandi for so long, I am interested in studies that support waking up early. I think I inherently know this is a good thing... something to aspire to. I think this is why I feel so badly that I can't seem to get up on time any more. I have developed a very intimate relationship with my snooze button. I know that one hit of the snooze button will give me 9 more sublime minutes of nothingness. I am not a lazy person, mind you. I've always thought that it was ironic that my given name is derived from a Hebrew word meaning bee. It's just that in the cool darkness of the early morning I end up waging a battle inside my head and cleaning out the kitty litter pan before I go to work just doesn't seem as important at 5:00am as it does when I am trying to leave for the day at 7:30. Hitting the snooze button has become the number one reason I barely accomplish anything other than the bare minimum in the morning. There was a time that I could wash and dry a couple of loads of clothes, sweep and vacuum the floors and start on dinner all before anyone else in my house even stirred. I loved it! There are days that I try to do a few small tasks as I run out the door and that never seems to work. What I think will take 5 minutes takes longer and, of course, there are 3 or 4 of these tasks and the next thing I know I am leaving the house 20 minutes late.

The whole *gotta get up earlier* thing has been on my mind a good bit lately. Recently, I stumbled across Allen Rinehart's blog. His blog is called The Life Experimenter. It's an interesting concept. His premise is that anyone can change a behavior in 30 days. His inspiration, in part, comes from Steve Pavlina, a personal growth guru and Morgan Spurlock, who is best known for his (30 day) Super Size Me experiment. I thought it was very telling that Rinehart's first experiment dealt with waking up early.

I eagerly bookmarked the site with the intention of investing some time learning how to correct my new found evil ways. Then the faerie princess commented that she could "accomplish anything if she wakes up early enough". The simpleness of her statement struck me. I know it's true... for her, for me, for anyone really. It also was the straw that broke the mouse's back, so to speak.

What I have gleaned from my jaunt across the Internet is most of the tricks to rising early are still things I don't want to do (i.e., won't do): avoid caffeine (you have got to be joking), avoid alcohol (ditto), exercise upon rising, drink water upon rising (okay, this is something I could possibly do while I am waiting for my coffee to brew)... there's others. The one thing I identified that I have been really derelict on (hence, the indentation on my snooze button) is actually getting up when the alarm goes off. Sounds almost too easy, doesn't it? For me, and apparently most people, once your feet hit the floor you're safe. I'm not sure when I started hitting the snoozer, but it's a fairly new addiction. The other area I need to reform is getting ready for the day before I get distracted. I joke that I am the only person I know who can wake up at 5:00am and still be late for an 8:00am appointment. It's a guilty pleasure of mine to lounge around, drinking coffee, waiting for the day to begin. Problem with that is that the day began way before I got out of bed and I am already starting behind the 8 ball.

My pledge to myself is to make an effort to get up when the bell tolls. It'll take some baby steps on my part and that's okay. I want this to work, so I know I need to be realistic. Even if I don't do it everyday, as long as I have the desire to do it everyday it's still an obtainable goal. The prize at the end of it all is all the *extra* time I will have. Steve Pavlina points out in one of his essays that "if you oversleep just 30 minutes a day, that’s 180+ hours a year. And if you’re at 60 minutes a day, that’s 365 hours a year, the equivalent of nine 40-hour weeks. That’s a lot of time! Now I don’t know about you, but I can think of more creative things to do with that time than lying in bed longer than I need to." Amen brother!

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